County Closes Health Clinic Funded by Porn Industry

Los Angeles County health officials on Wednesday shut down a long-running health clinic funded by the porn industry to test and treat adult-film performers.

County health staff issued a cease-and-desist order to the storefront clinic, Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation, based upon a state denial of the clinic's application for a community clinic license, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

An AIM representative did not immediately return a call requesting comment. "By state law, all facilities that provide medical services are regulated by the state to ensure that they meet appropriate standards to provide medical care," according to the county statement.

"AIM had been operating as a doctor's office; however, the California Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification determined that AIM's Sherman Oaks facility was, in fact, a medical clinic and therefore subject to more rigorous standards," according to the department. "AIM does not have a license to operate a medical clinic. Today's cease-and-desist order means that AIM must stop providing medical services until it has obtained the appropriate license from the state."

The nonprofit AIM clinic was co-founded in 1998 by former porn star Sharon Mitchell and internist Dr. Steven York. In addition to HIV-related services, AIM provides condoms, testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted diseases, pap smears, psychiatric assessment and drug and alcohol counseling.

News of AIM's closure was applauded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has railed against the clinic for, among other things, being slow to respond to the threat of AIDS within the adult video industry.

"After years of total inaction, Los Angeles County officials have finally shut down AIM -- the porn industry's sham clinic," Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said in a statement.

"Now it's time for the county to go after the producers themselves who have been operating with impunity outside the law," he said. "Public health officials must shut down every permitted adult film shoot in Los Angeles County until the industry complies with state and federal laws requiring condom use."
 

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